Human performance on the temporal bisection task

Charles D. Kopec, Carlos D. Brody

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations


The perception and processing of temporal information are tasks the brain must continuously perform. These include measuring the duration of stimuli, storing duration information in memory, recalling such memories, and comparing two durations. How the brain accomplishes these tasks, however, is still open for debate. The temporal bisection task, which requires subjects to compare temporal stimuli to durations held in memory, is perfectly suited to address these questions. Here we perform a meta-analysis of human performance on the temporal bisection task collected from 148 experiments spread across 18 independent studies. With this expanded data set we are able to show that human performance on this task contains a number of significant peculiarities, which in total no single model yet proposed has been able to explain. Here we present a simple 2-step decision model that is capable of explaining all the idiosyncrasies seen in the data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)262-272
Number of pages11
JournalBrain and Cognition
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


  • Decision making
  • Human
  • Meta-analysis
  • Model
  • Perception
  • Temporal bisection task
  • Timing


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